Sep 9 2009
FREE SPEECH suffers a fatal blow as Helsinki Councilman is convicted of insulting Islam.
Our friends at TUNDRA TABLOIDS, also based in Finland, are reporting this devastating infringement on one of the most important freedoms enjoyed in Western democracies. Will TT be the next victim?
This judgement by the Helsinki District Court violates the very essence of what “Freedom of Speech” stands for; the right to say out loud, that, what people do not want to hear. As an American who has been living in Finland for the past 22 years, I’m appalled at what just took place. The Finnish judicial system just violated the sacred right of every Finn to speak his or her mind freely, on any given subject, no matter how polite or offensive that speech might be. From now on, and in no unclear or uncertain terms, the Finnish state makes itself the sole arbitrator of what kind of speech in Finland is permissible and what is not. Big Brother has spoken.
City Councillor Jussi Halla-Aho of the True Finns Party has been found guilty of defamation of religion by the Helsinki District Court. He was ordered to pay a fine of 330 euros. However, the court dismissed a charge of inciting hatred against an ethnic group. Prosecutor Simo Kolehmainen said Halla-Aho had publicly defamed the Islamic faith in his blog writings. Halla-Aho had also written derogatory statements about Somali immigrants on his internet site.
The prosecutor said Halla-Aho’s writings insulted Muslims residing in Finland and endangered religious peace. The District Court ruled that in the indictment the claims (Halla-aho’s) were multiplied and by their reasoning were not designed to have a mature debate on grievances about Islam, but at the expense of the freedom of speech issue to discredit the religion’s values.
Halla-Aho admitted to writing the comments but challenged they were intended to defame. He said the comments had been taken out of context added he was not guilty of any criminal offence.